Organizing for Education
Over two million Myanmar people are estimated to be living in Thailand. Some are fleeing warfare, others political injustice, but most come seeking opportunity. Often, children in these families are put to work or left at home to care for younger siblings. Concerned by the number of children not in school, migrant workers formed learning centers. Nine of these learning centers now form the Ranong Education Working Committee (REWC). Many REWC teachers were once factory workers and laborers themselves and are trusted by the community. Through coordinated efforts, REWC currently provides standardized education for over 1,000 students in southern Thailand.
The learning centers teach the Myanmar curriculum with the addition of Thai language classes. Once a year, a Myanmar Ministry of Education official comes to Thailand to proctor an exam, or students travel to Myanmar to take it there. Students who pass are officially recognized as having completed their respective grade. REWC also provides the option of taking courses through Thailand’s Non-formal Education system. Interested students also have the chance to take Thai exams with certification of grade level upon passing. Should they choose to remain in Thailand, this option allows them to continue their studies through the Thai government system.
The gift of education is already having lasting impacts. Already, over 4,000 children have a chance at a life of their making; they have a chance to choose because of REWC.